NEW YORK METS (62-62, third place/NL East) at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (66-57, second place/NL Central)
CARDINALS SHORT HOPS
The Cardinals have been hit hard by injuries this month, with shortstop Aledmys Diaz (broken thumb), left-hander Tyler Lyons (knee), right-hander Michael Wacha (shoulder), left fielder Matt Adams (shoulder), Matt Holliday (broken thumb) and right-hander Seth Maness (elbow) all landing on the disabled list. Greg Garcia has taken over at shortstop for the All-Star Diaz, who was hitting .312 with 14 homers and 57 RBIs in 353 at-bats during his rookie season. Diaz was struck by a pitch from Miami Marlins right-hander Andrew Cashner. Holliday also was hit by a pitch, by Chicago Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery. Holliday had surgery and might be lost for the season.
Jedd Gyorko has 20 home runs in only 272 at-bats. On Friday while manning shortstop, Gyorko became the first player in franchise history to homer at all four infield positions in a single season. Jake Flowers (1926-32) and Rogers Hornsby (1916-33) had done it over their entire Cardinals careers.
Jaime Garcia surrendered a career-high three home runs last Tuesday against the Houston Astros.
The Cardinals have set a franchise record for a single season with 14 pinch-hit home runs. That included an MLB-record three in an April 8 game in Atlanta. Jeremy Hazelbaker is tied with Pittsburgh’s Matt Joyce for the MLB lead with four pinch-hit home runs.
Cardinals reliever Matt Bowman was a Rule 5 pick from the Mets in December.
St. Louis leads the National League with 173 home rnus. The Mets rank third with 162.
METS SHORT HOPS
Steven Matz, who had been lined up for Thursday’s start, instead landed on the disabled list with a mild shoulder strain and rotator-cuff inflammation. Rookie Seth Lugo will make his second major league start in place of Matz.
Neil Walker is to be placed on paternity leave and miss the entire series. The Mets intend to promote rookie infielder T.J. Rivera from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Walker's roster spot.
Yoenis Cespedes has three home runs in three games since returning from the disabled list. Cespedes had struggled while trying to play through a right quadriceps strain before being placed on the DL. Cespedes slugged his 40th and 41st home runs as a Met on Saturday, in his 153rd game with the organization. That was the quickest in franchise history to the 40-homer mark, topping the 175 games it took Carlos Delgado to reach that threshold.
Jay Bruce, acquired from the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 1 for second baseman Dilson Herrera and 19-year-old left-hander Max Wotell, is hitting .169 (12-for-71) with two home runs and six RBIs in 19 games with the Mets.
Curtis Granderson is hitting .152 (12-for-79) in his past 21 games. He recently has been asked to play center field against right-handed pitching. Justin Ruggiano handles the position against southpaws.
Jacob deGrom is coming off a five-inning start against the San Francisco Giants in which he allowed career highs with eight runs and 13 hits. He had been 4-1 with a 1.49 ERA in his previous nine starts.